Plagiarizing B.C. judge prompts new trial
A B.C. woman who was awarded millions of dollars to help care for her brain-damaged son will have to go back to court to try to get the money because the judge in the lawsuit plagiarized most of his decision, a higher court has ruled.
Monica Cojocaru was awarded more than $5 million in April 2009 after successfully suing B.C. Women's Hospital and its medical staff for negligence during the birth of her son.
The child, Eric Cojocaru, was left with permanent brain damage after a complicated vaginal delivery in 2001.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Joel Groves used more than 100 pages to lay out his ruling, including scathing criticism of three doctors involved in the birth, who Groves said had not properly informed the mother of the possible risks to the child.
However, two out of three judges on a B.C. Court of Appeal panel ruled Thursday that Groves copied, almost word for word, most of his decision.
The panel found more than 300 of the 368 paragraphs were almost identical to submissions made by the Cojocaru family's lawyer.
In its ruling, the Court of Appeal said Groves's reasons for judgment cannot be considered his own, don't meet the standard of public accountability and do not allow for meaningful review.
"A reasonable and informed observer could not be persuaded that the trial judge examined all of the evidence before him and made appropriate findings," the panel wrote.
The appeal court ordered a new trial.
With files from the CBC's Robert Zimmerman